Friday, August 11, 2006

"I went to the concert and I fought through the crowd"

I realised I haven't written anywhere about the actual details of The Strokes last week and, while I hate to harp on about the same thing all the time, I think I should get it down in here before it all just up and disappears.

I always think how it would be great to have a tape recorder inside your head to remember your thoughts. It's not just the images or events that need to be remembered, but your perspective on those events and what was going through your mind. If I had one of these recorders inside my head last Thursday night I could have written a five page review. I know, why was I thinking so much when I was suppose to be enjoying a concert? For starters, it's a well-established fact that I think too much. And also, I just didn't want to forget any of what I was seeing, so I was trying to put it into words in case those words had a better chance of sticking to the inside of my memory than the images.

The night of actually getting to the concert, without counting the buses and trains and walking that was endured during that day, began when Steph, Jim and I were waiting at Central train station for the train to Shorncliff, or Boondall where the Entertainment Centre is. You could tell all the people around us were not just catching the same train as us, but also going to the same concert. There's just something about Strokes people. We had a little while to wait and while I have no idea what we were talking about, Steph, Jim and I spent the whole time in hysterical laughter. Whatever it was, it was obviously very funny. We got on the train and wasted the time by going through eachother's wallets. This may have been the point at which I lost a $5 note. From the train station at Shorncliff it was about a 600m walk to the Entertainment Centre. We walked in a very long line of people along a path that winded it's way through some trees and past a pond until we got the the Centre. A thought came to me in flashing red neon lights as we were making this walk. Boys who like The Strokes also like skinny jeans. But who am I to talk - I was wearing them too.

After our bags were searched for cameras (the security lady's flashlight didn't work. We could have snuck one in without her knowing!) and Jim was sent off to coat check because his bag was too big, we got inside. More people, more skinny jeans. I was hesitant to spend any money, but of course had to get a t- shirt. I knew that if I didn't I'd hate myself the next day, and I truely would have after how I felt the next day. My only option was the black tour shirt because it was the only thing in my size, and Steph ended up getting the same after a few minutes of consideration. Next thing, this dinging bell started to chime and I figured it was on the hour. So I was quite prepared to daudle (sp?) around a while longer until the voiceover said the main act was about to start and I replied "Huh! No they're not." Then Steph pointed out "No, it's 9!" and it was indead The Strokes who were about to come onstage. Somehow I thought it was only 7, though I knew we'd left her house after that time. So we quickly found our door and the lady showed us our seat - last row of the first section, right in the middle of all those people! So we climed over everyone else and sat down, then realising we should have just jumped over the back of the chairs.

We could see the people in the mosh, all squeezed up in a semi-circle around the stage with a few stragglers around the edges who couldn't really be bothered to push to the front. The Strokes came on not long after we arrived. We were on the same side of the Centre that they entered the stage from, so we could see them come out of their little door. Yay! The Strokes! They went straight into playing and I realised this stupid light stand on the stage that looked like a mosquito zapper was right in my eyeline. But... Nick and Nikolai were very considerate and very rarely hid themselves behind it. After a few songs Julian started talking, saying "Hello Brisbane", to which everyone screamed (it's always nice when they know where they're playing, isn't it?), and all the other obligatory stuff. He also said it was good to be playing because it was their first show in Australia for a while (to which I thought "Didn't you play a secret show in Sydney at the end of last year? It wasn't that secret Julian). Though we were't very close we still had a great view of all the band. I spent quite some time, before everyone got up the nerves to dance around and were instead just quietly tapping their feet, studying what they were all wearing. And then being quite puzzled by the fact they were the same thing all the time. Julian - black jeans, black leather jacket; Nick - very tight jeans, jacket, red Converse high tops (and who, despite his long hair which everyone else seems to dislike, is looking very attractive at the moment), Fab - red t-shirt, jeans, Albert - white jeans and white denim jacket, Nikolai - more tailored looking pants, button up shirt. I was to realise, after seeing photos from the Melbourne show the night after, that they wear the exact same thing all the time.

Like I said, it took a while for people to start dancing and really getting into it. You could see it - people would start tapping their feet, then sort of dancing in their seat, then they'd get up and really go to town. A few times Julian spoke between songs, introducing the next tune ("Vision of Division", "Electricityscape", and I believe "Ize of the World") and chatting in his droneful voice that was often hard to pick up. Oh yes, at that start when first mentioning Brisbane, he also said "Brissy" which the entire audience seemed to be excited by. He also said we were "f*#cking loud", which I was even thinking then "I bet you say that to all the audiences" (and, as evidenced by The Strokes forum, he does). What else did he say (I'm remembering the details here)? When introducing "Electricityscape" he was talking about how good electricity was. And later he started reaching out to the people in the front who were reaching out to him, but not touching, and said "We're so close".

The music was absolutely amazing. I kept looking at Jim and Steph to see if they were enjoying it, as they're not big fans like me and I hoped I hadn't dragged them off to something they didn't like. I was singing along and we were all dancing around. Yes, the music. They did play some. Steph said the next day the music could have been softer so Julian's voice was more audible, but I think that's just The Strokes. Plus, it's good when you can feel the bass in your chest. And the drums. I can't listen to "The End Has No End" now without imagining Fab smashing at his drums. The CD doesn't quite live up to the loudness. The audience liked that drum section too, screaming each time.

For "Ask Me Anything" Nick switched to a white organ and just he and Julian were onstage. That was very good, even though I didn't think it was the kind of song they'd play live - not very upbeat or boppy. But it was phenomenal. Apparently there was an encore, but they only left the stage for about 10 seconds. I didn't think it was much more time than to have a mouthful of water, or whatever beverage they were partaking in, and come back. From other people account's since, there were 3 songs for the encore. During "New York City Cops" Julian gathered up his microphone chord (I think everyone thought it was gonna dive into the crowd) and jumped off the side of the stage, mingling through the crowd on the other side of the Centre. Then he came over to our side, and did an even better job of it because he managed to come up to our seated section. He was only 8 (A,B,C,D...H) rows away! So we jumped up on our seats to see him because everyone had stood up. People were going up and hugging him but he wasn't being trampled (surprsingly) and I was very impressed that he didn't miss a single word of the song. He got back to the stage and they finished and left. Sob. Only an hour and a half. 10.30pm and this is suppose to be a rock band?

We left skipping along, jumping up and down (well, me anyway) with "On The Other Side" in my head, though I wasn't sure they'd even played it (since listening to it again I think they did). "I know what's waiting for me on the other side". Back on the, this time, very packed train to the city and home to Steph's. I went to bed with "New York City Cops" in my head then the next day went through probably their entire catalogue, including "12:51" as we were walking through Southbank. Steph asked me what song was in my head. Apparently I was humming. (OOOH! "The End Has No End" is playing now: "Said I can do a lot of things but I can't do that") I woke up very sad that it was all over, and am even more sad now that it's over a week since the concert and it's all slowly fading away. I have my t-shirt though (see, I would have been distraught if I didn't get it) and on the way to the train to come home last Friday Steph and I went to a music store where I bought a Strokes badge (which also made us very late for the train and we had to run, only to find that wasn't our train anyway and we had to wait).

All in all, I've reaffirmed my belief that they are a very cool, attractive, talented bunch of people. Pitty they all have wives and babies.

EDIT 18.08.06: I also remember, and have remembered since the start but forgot to put it in this entry, Julian saying, at one point after a song, "Thanks... I guess". I thought it was really cute.


Blogger Feste said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Feste said...

hey i liked your description sounds like a awesome show. i'll post my best experiance on my blog

2:29 PM  

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